Read Arranged Online

Authors: Catherine McKenzie

Arranged (29 page)

I find the counter for my airline and use my open-ended ticket to book myself a flight home. As I search for my gate, I keep an eye out for somewhere to send a message to Stephanie and Craig, something I haven’t had the chance to do in a long time. Too long. I don’t want to think about why I let that happen; I don’t have any answers, for that matter.

I pass a few public computer kiosks full of people who look like they’ve settled in for longer than the time I have left before my flight. I queue up behind one anyway, until I notice its user pushing unfamiliar coins into a slot, buying ten more minutes. The only change I have would barely buy me a Coke in a vending machine back home.

I give up and head to my gate with thirty-five minutes to spare. I take a seat next to a man in his mid-thirties typing aggressively on his laptop. A glance at his screen shows an email full of caps and exclamation marks. I feel a flash of sympathy for [email protected]

He looks at me with an unfriendly expression. “Can I help you?”

“Oh, sorry . . . it’s just . . . do you think I could borrow your computer for a minute? I really need to send a couple of emails, and all the kiosks are full, and I don’t have any coins, and . . .” I pause to catch a breath that has turned borderline hysterical, a good imitation of those people at the airport whom I was happy to leave behind.

The angry man’s eyes widen in dismay, his expression softened by my tone. “Hey, don’t freak out on me, okay?” He shoves his laptop into my lap. “Send all the emails you want, all right?”

I thank him and open a new Web browser, leaving the angry email in place. My fingers feel clumsy on the keys, and I have to erase the first few attempts to enter my account information. When I finally get the combination of letters and numbers right, I’m informed in angry, flashing red type that my account has been shut down for sending too much junk mail. I curse silently under my breath at the spammer who hijacked it.

“Is something wrong?” the less angry man asks.

“My account is blocked.”

“Why not just open a new one?”

Why not, indeed? I tap on the keys, and in a few moments [email protected] is up and running.

I hit the “compose” button and pause. What the hell am I going to say after all this time? How do I even begin? Will they even want to hear from me?

I can feel the minutes slipping away. I brush aside those thoughts and type in Stephanie’s and Craig’s email addresses as quickly as I can.

From: Emma Tupper

To: [email protected], [email protected]

Re: Coming home!

Hey guys,

This is such an odd email to write! I’m so, so sorry I haven’t written till now. I’ll explain everything when I get home, I promise. Anyway, I’m in London, my flight is leaving soon and should be arriving around 4 p.m. I’m on BA flight 3478. I can’t wait to see you both. I’ve missed you so much.

Love, Em


I read it over quickly. It’ll have to do. I hit “send” and hand the computer back to my neighbor, thanking him as a chime sounds. A polite, clipped voice announces that pre-boarding is about to begin. Anyone who has small children or needs assistance should come to the gate. General boarding will begin momentarily. I stand and stretch, taking a last opportunity to look around. So this is London. All I’ve ever seen of it is the airport. I’ll have to remedy that someday.

The polite voice calls the first-class passengers. I line up briefly and walk down the gangway. The plane is brand-spanking-new. Each passenger gets his or her own capsule, a private space to eat, sleep, and watch six months’ worth of movies. Maybe it’s the flashy technology or the warmed-up, lemon-scented towels that the flight attendant brings, but a beat of hope starts in my heart. Soon I’ll be back where I should be, and then, like the song says, everything will be all right.

But everything is not all right, which I should know when there’s no one at the airport to meet me. Or when the ATM spits out my card as if it’s contaminated, and my car isn’t where I left it in the long-term parking lot.

I should’ve known, but I’m too distracted. Despite everything that’s happened, I feel too happy.

I’m home.

Finally, the air smells familiar. I understand the curses hurled at me as I cross the road without looking properly. Even the cold bite of winter and the annoying loop of jangly carols escaping from the outdoor speakers seem perfect, as they should the week before Christmas.

So when I give up looking for my car and sink into the back of a cab, I don’t have a clue. In fact, it’s only after I’ve handed over my last forty dollars to the ungrateful driver and tried to put my key into the lock of my apartment that I begin to panic.

Because the key doesn’t fit. The lock doesn’t turn.

And it has begun to snow.



n the list of great things about getting a second book published is the chance you get to thank the people who helped make your first book a success. So, I’d like to thank:

My friends, for buying a zillion copies and telling everyone they know about my book. Amy, Annie, Candice, Chad, Christie, Dan, Eric, Janet, Katie, Kevin, Lindsay, Marty, Olivier, Patrick, Phil, Presseau, Sara, Stephanie, Tanya, and Thierry, my life is better because you are in it.

My family. Mom, Dad, Cam, Scott, Owen, Liam, Mike, Grandpa Roy, and Grandma Dorothy. And Tasha and Phyllis, for a lifetime of friendship.

All those who read early drafts, especially Amy, who literally read this as I wrote it, and without whom I might never have finished it.

April Eberhardt, for your editorial contribution and for bringing me to HarperCollins Canada.

At HarperCollins Canada, my editors, Alex Schultz and Jennifer Lambert, for making what I write better. Publisher Iris Tupholme, for, well, publishing
. And everyone in sales and production.

At William Morrow, my wonderful editor, Emily Krump, and the sales team, especially Mary Sasso and my publicist, Stephanie Kim.

The gang at IMK for being so understanding.

Diane Saarinen, for her online marketing savvy.

My amazing agent and friend, Abigail Koons, and the whole team at Park Literary.

All the writers I’ve met along the way who have been an encouraging force, including Cathy Marie Buchanan, Tish Cohen, and Nadia Lakhdari King. And especially Shawn Klomparens, for your friendship and for making this book better.

Lucy Maud Montgomery, for creating Anne and writing wonderful books. My childhood would not have been the same without you.

To all the readers of
, thank you, thank you.

And David, who is the reason I wrote this book in the first place.

About the Author


KENZIE was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, where she now practices law. An avid runner, skier, and reader, she has also taught part-time at McGill University’s Faculty of Law.

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Praise for


“Who says chicklit has to end with a wedding? Canadian author Catherine McKenzie’s new book,
, marries off her heroine, the relationship-challenged magazine editor Anne Blythe, by the midpoint, after a mysterious marriage broker hooks her up. The perfect strangers become estranged, but getting to happily-ever-after has rarely been so entertaining.”

, January 2011


“Catherine McKenzie brings a smart twist to marriage and relationships in her second novel, the story of unlucky-in-love Anne Blythe.
is crafted with pathos and subtle humor, and through it McKenzie’s heroine learns—the hard way—that the happiest endings are often the ones least expected.”

—Shawn Klomparens, author of
Jessica Z.
Two Years, No Rain


“Catherine McKenzie’s
is a satisfying and entertaining romance that puts a very contemporary twist on old-fashioned ideas about marriage. I inhaled it in an afternoon, rooting for its heroine to find the love she longs for.”

—Leah Stewart, author of
Body of a Girl
Husband & Wife


“A novel that explores what happens when what you think you want collides with what you really need. Catherine McKenzie’s
is a rare book: smart, funny, honest, and absorbing.”

—Therese Walsh, author of
The Last Will of Moira Leahy


“Just when you think you’ve got
figured out, time and again, Catherine McKenzie delivers the flawless, unexpected twist that keeps you glued to the book.”

—Cathy Marie Buchanan,
The Day the Falls Stood Still


“McKenzie has crafted a plausible and entertaining story about the complexities of relationships and what makes a marriage work.”

Winnipeg Free Press


are entertaining, fast-paced reads, in the vein of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner.”

Waterloo Region Record




Cover design by Emin Mancheril

Cover photographs: © Amana Images/Plain Picture; (woman) Maksim Toome/Shutterstock



This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

. Copyright © 2011 by Catherine McKenzie. Excerpt from FORGOTTEN copyright © 2012. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

First published in Canada in 2011.


ISBN 978-0-06-211539-3

EPub Edition MAY 2012 ISBN: 9780062115409

12 13 14 15 16
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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